“Dupont Circle Park Safety Issues”

Photo by PoPville flickr user NCinDC

From the MPD-2D Listserv:

“It would be great to see more of a police presence around Dupont Circle Park, just to patrol the area for public safety issues. Today [Sunday] alone I saw a group of people openly smoking pot, a man from that group later masturbated while watching my friends and I, and after we moved to another spot two men came over and loudly harassed and threatened us until we left the park. This was in the space of 2 hours and not at all out of the ordinary, frankly. I don’t feel safe in the park in broad daylight and I’m sure I’m not the only one.”

MPD responded:

“Thank you for sharing and we will assist. In instances as described please call 911 for an immediate police response. I will also pass this information along to the United States Park Police.”

40 Comment

  • Interesting. I haven’t been around Dupont much recently, but in the past I always saw cops around the circle.

  • Public masturbation and harassment are obviously unacceptable, but why would you include smoking pot in that list?

    • Because it too is illegal, and because the fact that people are openly smoking pot there implies that there’s no police presence whatsoever?
      (Or are you the guy who was complaining in the Logan Circle prostitution thread about having been arrested for openly smoking pot?)

      • No but I just found that and I think it’s ridiculous that people care. Good lord, what’s next, criminalizing whistling in public because someone doesn’t like the tune?

      • I’ve noticed lately that many of the dumber people among us now think it’s suddenly alright to smoke pot anywhere and everywhere. Clearly they don’t understand the law.

        • People have been openly smoking pot in DuPont circle forever. I used to in the seventies when I was in high school. Did it a few weeks ago at the World Cup game.

          • The “been doing it for years” argument still doesn’t make it legal my friend

          • The pearl clutchers here have no idea what the 70s were like or how ludicrous it is to treat this in the same way that one would something like crack smoking.

        • The don’t understand the law, or do you think that maybe its that they just don’t care?

          • I’m guessing they probably don’t understand the potential consequences. USPP are pretty much zero tolerance on that sort of thing. If they happen to be around, you’re definitely gonna find yourself face down on the concrete and under arrest.

    • Pot is going to be treated like alcohol in many respects. You can’t drink alcohol everywhere, including public places.

      Also, nobody can get drunk from watching someone drink. Sadly, people can get a contact high from being near pot smoke. Some adults are hypersensitive to the drug and have adverse reactions (anxiety). No child should be exposed to the second hand smoke for any reason.

      So yes smoking pot in public is more than a nuisance. It’s a crime.

      • Unless you’re fishbowling a car, contact highs don’t happen. Good lord.

        • The myth of the ‘contact high’ give me a break. I agree – let the man do his thing he isnt hurting anyone more than a cig would. The masterbation and harrasment, not cool.

          • following your argument, why would it matter if the guy jerks off looking at a group of girls. He isn’t going to get them pregnant.

          • Except not everyone wants to be sitting in the park enjoying the day, only to be forced to smell pot because someone feels that it’s not hurting anyone. Pot reeks. Do that stuff at home.

          • +1 to wtw

    • it is illegal and some people dont like the smell. if smoking cigars or tobacco pipes or grilling pungent meats or eating surströmming was illegal in parks, same would apply.

  • Yes, DCPD should be so much better about patrolling the city, especially on foot or bike (but not on sidewalks where it’s illegal, ahem). However, they’ll never be able to provide 100% coverage 100% of the time (nor would we want them to), so when you see someone committing a crime, do the police and your fellow citizens a favor and report the offense to authorities!

    • This is Federal land, so MPD doesn’t patrol Dupont Circle. US Park Police are stretched thin, you’ll never really see them in Dupont past normal business hours.

      • also, it is my understanding that since it is federal land, the new pot laws that are in effect in the district do not apply.

    • austindc

      Agreed! I got a kick out of the MPD response, pretty much saying, “If you need the police, please call the police.”

      • I have no problem with MPD being reluctant to expend even more of its limited resources on federal functions than it already expends. Doesn’t mean it turns a blind eye to crime. It just means that the primary responsibility for patrolling federal property belongs to federal law enforcement agencies.

  • Park Police will respond if you call 911 (as a reminder, you call 911 for things like this even though it’s not an emergency). A few years back I was in Logan Circle with my small child and a group of men were drinking and hanging out. No problem with this personally, a lot of people picnic there with wine etc. But one of them got up, whipped it out and urinated on the sidewalk in the middle of the circle. I called 911 because that’s just gross and five Park Police vehicles drove up on the circle and went all Cops on those guys. A bit of overkill but they don’t mess around. I don’t want to see anyone’s junk at the park. Seriously.

  • I work near the circle, and it’s usually a treat to stop by during the day. Weekends may be different, but its pretty awesome Monday-Friday, even at night. Every now and then you get a random crazy person, but that’s basically it. Perhaps its less policed by the public when there aren’t as many office workers in the park.

    I would also suggest immediately calling the cops instead of later contacting them. Every time you see something illegal in public, give them a call. Not much they can do after the fact.

    • +1 on everything you said. i live/work nearby. some people who hang out look a bit ragged, but ive never seen them bother anyone. and they have every right to be there as the slackliners and swing dancers and yogurt-in-the-parkers

    • I also work by the park and try to eat lunch in the circle frequently. Unfortunately, it is a very different experience as a woman, even during the workday – it’s rare to go a whole day without some incident.

      Most of my female colleagues have stopped eating lunch outside. Too many cases of drunks yelling obscenities, public masturbation (including one guy that followed a coworker back to the office and stopped in front of her window to “finish” until the cops finally showed up), getting grabbed at or just having requests to be left alone repeatedly ignored.

      Cops only show up about half the time that we’ve called.

      • wow, i stand corrected! i had no idea this was happening,.

        • The sad thing is, it may have happened right in front of you, but you never heard or saw it. Once you start looking for it, tho, you can’t unsee it. Keep an eye out for the guys who go from woman to woman, pretending to say ‘hi’ but in reality saying lewd things.

      • What Alex said. I get harassed in some form about three times out of five in both Dupont Circle and Farragut Square. Catcalling, explicit propositions, and occasionally an attempted grope. I’ve only had someone masturbate in my direction once. Lucky me!
        I haven’t worked near Farragut Square for a few years, but when I did, it was the bike messengers’ hangout . They were assholes; my female colleagues and I would go out of our way to keep our distance from them. Plus the usual drunken bums.

        • Bike messengers gather outside Potbelly’s now. Farragut is full of 1,000 lunching people. Golden Triangle even sets up tables. I know the homeless crowd there almost as well as I know my coworkers, and they don’t bother me, except the one old guy who is equally mean to everyone.

      • Unfortunately true. As a woman in this city, you quickly learn that public parks are for men and bums only.

    • But we still cant masturbate in public. Damn!

  • I walk through the circle everyday and I think that some of the comments here are a bit exagerated but I agree that public masterbation should not be tollerated. The pot smoking is perfectly cool with me. There are a lot of us who want this to be legalized and calling the police over wittnessing this is a complete waste of our tax dollars and an insult to the free and liberal city that we are. Please stop or just move to a state where you can be more comfortable.

    • I don’t have a problem with anyone calling the cops on illegal activity. If you don’t want your tax dollars being used that way fine, but don’t tell other how to use theirs. I understand there are a number of places where you can move and smoke pot freely, so perhaps you should consider that.

  • I used to walk through Dupont Circle twice a day as part of my commute, and in that group that sits everyday at the NE corner by New Hampshire, there is one guy that I regularly saw dealing drugs to. It’s a shame that the Park Police don’t patrol the circle more often.

  • I find cigarettes and cigar smoke, and now e cigarettess to be way more offensive smell wise than pot. Tobacco smoke lingers, causes emphasima and smells like crap. People are allowed to do it anywhere as long as they are within the allotted distance of an open door or window. Why are your kids playing at the park in DuPont circle anyway that place is a shit hole. Just walk around the park. The masturbatjng on the other hand is offensive

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